The 118th United States Congress assembled in Washington, D.C., on 03 January 2023, has marked history with an advanced number of LGBTQ+ members than the previous sessions.
As the Republicans won the 2022 midterm election, they received control over the House for the first time ever since the 115th congress.
Also, they made a record with 13 members who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Although there were a few open members in the past, the 118th is one with the highest number of open LGBTQ+ members in history.
Moreover, according to Pew Research, it is estimated that the number has increased three times when compared to that of the 2012 Congress.
From such an act by the House, it is believed that representation has grown steadily since 2012 and because of this, the 113th Congress had seven members while the 116th had ten which continued to increase from there on.
In the 118th congress, thirteen voting members are identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. In spite of the fact that the increasing number is very less, the number is increasing steadily when compared to that of the last decade.
A total of two senators and 11 members of the House of Representatives identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community. And in the last congress, there were a total of 11 LGBTQ+ lawmakers.
The Number Of LGBTQ+ Representatives Has Tripled
From the data collected by the Victory Fund, a political action committee that works to elect LGBTQ politicians, the number of LGBTQ+ representatives has tripled when compared to that in the past few years.
Democrat Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin who was elected in 2012,is the first open LGBTQ+ member in the chamber of the current senate.
While Kyrsten Sinema, an independent from Arizona, is the first openly bisexual individual to work in either chamber.
As most of the open LGBTQ+ members belong to Republicans, there is an exception who belongs to the Democrats. Republican George Santos of New York is the first openly gay, non-incumbent Republican of the 2022 mid-term election to win a congressional election.
Of the 11 openly gay or lesbian members in the House, seven of them are returning members of Congress.
And the new four elected members are Robert Garcia who is the first openly gay immigrant elected to congress, Democrat Eric Sorensen, the first gay Congressperson representing Illinois, Democrat Becca Balint, the first woman and first openly LGB person representing Vermont.
Eight out of the eleven LGBTQ+ House members are gay men and the rest are lesbians.
Regardless of the steady increase in the LGB representation in the House, the group still remains marginalized when compared with the total population of the United States.
Even the highest record number of 13 LGB members of Congress makes up 2% of the 534 voting lawmakers as of January 3, 2023. From an estimate, it is found that LGB individuals in the United States make up 6.5% of the whole adult population.
By marking history with the record number of LGBTQ+ people elected to Congress, there are various other milestones in LGBTQ political leadership in the United States.
This can be noted as the first step in valuing diversity in sexual orientation. Nowadays, numerous state legislatures incorporate transgender or nonbinary lawmakers for the first time in their history.
One such state is New Hampshire, which is the first state in the country that elected a transgender man to its state legislature.
With the changes made in the legislature, people could witness more development that’ll bring equality among them regardless of their sexual orientation.
Openly LGBTQ+ members will have a significant role in bringing up, advancing, and passing critical legislation such as the Equality Act and the Respect for Marriage Act during the 117th Congress. Also, with the changes made, they could work to expand their civil rights at the federal level.